Messianism and Authoritarian Leadership in Turkey: 19th Century to Present

A seminar with guest researcher at IKOS, Alp Eren Topal (Phd, Bilkent University).

Free admission and open to all.

In this lecture I will trace the Messianic conceptions of politics that underlie and legitimize authoritarian leadership in Turkey from the mid 19th century to present. From the early 19th century onward, we observe secularization of certain classical concepts of Islamic political tradition and their reformulation in modern context to justify sovereign power in a state of exception. I will demonstrate through fragments how such Messianic conceptions survive over time and reflect on how they are transmitted and how leaders appeal to such conceptions.


Alp Eren Topal is a guest researcher with IKOS. He has received his PhD in 2017 from Bilkent University, Department of Political Science with his dissertation on Ottoman concepts of reform. In September 2019, he will join the Lifetimes project as a Marie Sklodowska Curie fellow.


If you have any questions concerning the seminar, please contact our CIMS coordinator, Alexandra H. Koritzinsky, either by email:, or at: (+47) 957 21 103.

Published Apr. 18, 2019 12:56 PM - Last modified May 10, 2019 3:36 PM